Mom Who Won't Stop Breastfeeding 6-Year-Old Is Going to Turn Her Into a Brat​

If you thought the cover photo on Time magazine a few years ago showing a 3-year-old standing on a chair to breastfeed was controversial -- and even if you didn't -- you may want to sit down for this one. A 44-year-old mom from London is blowing up the Internet after she revealed she still breastfeeds her 6-year-old daughter and has no intention of stopping until little Belle decides she's ready to wean. Denise Sumpter, a PhD student studying ancient science, says her "mama's milk" has kept her two children -- she also has an 18-month-old son -- healthy and free from illnesses. Just as importantly, nursing provides her second grader with comfort -- and, for those reasons, she's sticking with it.


Sumpter said the frequency at which her daughter nurses varies anywhere from once a week to twice a day. Belle sometimes nurses when she feels tired, other times because she is sick -- and sometimes because she wants to bond with her mom.

There are even times when the young girl feeds from one breast while her little brother nurses from the other.

Look, of course I have an opinion about whether it's okay to breastfeed a 6-year-old or if it prevents her from finding age-appropriate ways to self-soothe. But I'm not this 6-year-old's mom, and since she isn't hurting her health and replacing breast milk with solid foods, I don't wish to focus on that aspect of this story.

But then there's this: Sumpter says she won't stop Belle from nursing until Belle says she is ready. Have we all gone so overboard in our belief that babies and children should lead the way that we are forgetting they are, 99.9 percent of the time, incapable of making good decisions for themselves and need us to step in? 

A world in which we allow our kids to make nutrition decisions is also one in which cereal and peanut butter companies replace national flags with their logos and images of their cartoon mascots. Now imagine extending that whatever-my-child-wants attitude so that it applies to other aspects of life.

Sure, you can sleep in mommy and daddy's bed until you're 11.

Oh, you say you aren't ready to stop riding the escalator yet? Well, let's just keep riding it until the security guard kicks us out of the mall!

Perhaps you're saying, apples and oranges, my friend: breastfeeding isn't the same as riding on an escalator. I agree. But if one of the reasons a mom hasn't weaned her child yet is because the child refuses to do so, it's time to step in and regain control over the situation. 

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It doesn't seem like this logic applies here -- as I mentioned, Sumpter listed several reasons why she enjoys nursing her child. But the assumption that her elementary school-age daughter should breastfeed until she feels ready to quit makes the erroneous assumption that she is capable of deciding what's best for her mental and emotional health.

Do you think it's okay to let older children breastfeed if that's something they want to do?


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